My parents owned a lot of land & as a kid one of my favorite things to do was wake up extra early (around 6 am) and go “exploring” with our dogs. About a 1-2 minute walk away from their house was a large forest area that spanned around 9-10 acres & the dogs & I would get lost in it for hours at a time. I felt like an explorer discovering new lands. We created trails through the brush and found little “secret” places within. I watched as the dogs hunted rabbits & squirrels and followed along as if I was actually helping (I was not). From the age of 10-13 this was my main form of entertainment. Then, naturally, as I grew older I moved on to video games, tv, and of course girls.
When I lost my mom and sister, my wife & I moved back to this area to help my dad, and in return he gave us some of his land. Before he passed we built a house on this land & I can see those same woods outside the window of my current home. We have been here for over 3 years and for some reason my interaction with those woods have been limited to me staring at them from a distance, until today.
One of the things I do when I need inspiration for my writing or just need to clear my head is walking. Today I needed some serious inspiration so the dog & I walked around our property and ended up finding ourselves outside of these same woods. My dog spent a great deal of time running in & out of these woods while I walked on the outside with a huge smile on my face. At some point she disappeared deep into the woods & I couldn’t see her anymore. I got as close to the outlying trees as possible, without actually going into the woods, and tried to find her but couldn’t. Now I wasn’t worried because she can take care of herself but I realized just how ridiculous I was being. These were the same woods I used to spend hours running through as a kid & I was pretending there was some kind of force-field stopping me from walking past a certain distance.
Sure there were trees and bushes that were, seemingly, blocking my entrance but somehow as a kid I was able to get past them. If I brushed past the bushes and trees it was possible I may get a scratch or two from a branch or thorn, it was also possible that whatever clothing I had on would get a little dirty, but as a kid it didn’t matter. So I went in. After over a decade those trails and “secret” places were still there. They hadn’t left, I had. For the next hour or so I returned to “exploring” and helping/hurting my dog as she attempted to chase down a couple of rabbits.
The point of this blog is that today I realized I had created a barrier. There was something that was still possible to do but over the years my brain had been hot-wired into believing it wasn’t. For those few hours I remembered how to get lost in the woods all over again. I wasn’t thinking about bills, or work, or writing. For those few hours I remembered how it used to be when I still had my mother, father, and sister. When I could go exploring for hours and when I was tired I came home where my only worry was my mom telling me to clean my home, and my dad yelling at me for avoiding my mother because I didn’t want to clean my room. For those few hours it still seemed possible that when I came home my brother would be fighting with my sister, and I would be trying to force them to come outside with me and play basketball or football. As a child I knew how to live in the present. Whereas now so much of my time is spend planning for the future, and at times being weighed down by the past.
This is not a sad post, this is actually a happy one. Those great memories are just like those trails and secret places. They were still there. They hadn’t left, I had. Today I remembered how to get lost, to live in the moment and let the past melt away around me.
My demand to all my blogger friends out there is that you go do something that was once possible, but you now believe isn’t. Return to a point in time in your life where the only thing that matters is that moment, even if that’s as long as it lasts.